It used to be that living in a dual-income household was enough to do well. My family is finding it takes three of us working in order to pay the bills, save for retirement and still have money leftover. According to a recent article by the AP, the wealthiest Americans last year earned more than 19 percent of the household income in the United States. My family is not part of the richest 1 percent that so many people envy. But we strive to be in the top 10 percent so that we can have a comfortable situation that does not involve living paycheck-to-paycheck. It's the wealthiest 10 percent making more than $114,000 a year who set the bar for the middle-class lifestyle in my opinion.
Keeping our family home
One of the reasons we are able to maintain our lifestyle even though prices keep going up is because our son contributes to our household income. We decided to keep our 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom family home instead of selling when our children went away to college. Our triple household income goes further because we share the utilities, mortgage and other expenses. Within the next 10 years, we will pay off our mortgage so that our income will go even further.
Holding onto our stocks
It's almost impossible to beat inflation without having money in the stock market. According to experts, the top 1 percent enjoyed the gains from the rising stock prices after the recession. We don't make more than $394,000 a year like the elite 1 percent, but we stay out of credit card debt, save and invest in stocks. Even with three incomes, we can't earn enough from our jobs to generate the kind of income that comes from dividend-paying stocks.
Preparing for the next crash
With three incomes, we have enough money to diversify our investments. According to the article, the gulf between the 1 percent and the rest of us is the widest it has been since the Roaring '20s. What's scary to me is the fact that the wealthy is holding onto the biggest share of the country's household income since 1928, the year before the stock market crash. I'm trying to remember my history lessons, making sure to diversify and keep some money in liquid savings.
Some experts say society needs to decide if the income inequality is acceptable, according to the AP. I don't think it's a societal question as much as an individual dilemma. Each person needs to figure out how they can make more from what they do as well as make more from their investments. My family decided it's best to combine our household expenses as well as incomes so that we are a triple income instead of a dual-income family. While the older generation in my family inherited some wealthy, my husband and I as well as our children work for what we have. Personally, I'm inspired by the "working rich," entrepreneurs and executives that make more than the rest of us. At least they earned it.
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